The continuing problems facing economies across the EU have prompted Matthew Sinclair, chief non-job holder at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), to cobble together a list of assertions about the UK’s relationship with other member states which do not stand up to the most cursory of examination. And he does no better with the credibility of his principal witness.
The post, “Other European Countries Do Enjoy A Better Relationship With The EU”, has been written following Sinclair’s reading of a comment piece published by the Maily Telegraph and authored by Jeremy Warner, and a blog post by his CEO Matthew “Gromit” Elliott. It also refers to the TPA’s EU point man Lee Rotherham, and that is where it starts to unravel.
More from the comfortable of Tufton Street
Rotherham was the source of the TPA’s “report” entitled “Britain And The ECHR”, which as I pointed out at the time, used largely exaggerated and even fictitious figures in an effort to stand up the contention that the ECHR had cost the UK almost £43 billion in recent years. £25 billion of this was made up, and none of the other figures cited any source.
Moreover, the detail supplied with the “report” – the part where the hacks wouldn’t look, having neither the time nor the inclination – was laughable in its sheer inanity. Only one conclusion could be drawn, and that was that Rotherham could not be trusted any further than he could be chucked. And, other than his supposedly authoritative “research”, Sinclair offers little else.
His repetition of Elliott’s wish list shows the lack of thought that has been applied. First wish is “Reject the European [EU actually] credo of ‘ever closer union’”. And what would that achieve, apart from making a few wingnuts feel better? Then, readers are told “the last Government threw away the rebate”. No they didn’t. And the idea that the UK does not have control over VAT collection is bunk.
But Sinclair’s last paragraph shows how weak this piece is: “Britain’s position is far stronger than Jeremy suggests” [backed up with zero evidence], “We don’t have to fear Norway or Switzerland’s fate” [which is not explained – and also no evidence], and finally “It wouldn’t be so bad” [three in a row]. And the TPA’s overmonied, greedy and cowardly backers pay him to write this stuff.
There’s money being wasted here. And there’s someone in a non-job. Maybe the TPA would take up the cause?